Thinking Out of the Box

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Thinking Out of the Box

Most of us remember the game “Let’s Pretend” which allowed us to take wonderful excursions into unheard of lands and adventures. Parents and teachers, however, given dire warnings about such meanderings—especially if played alone—frequently put an end to our excursions.  Today schools offer courses encouraging the use of the imagination, and day-dreaming students are not considered abnormal without further investigation. Today psychologists can computerize our creative potentialities and many businesses require such information when recruiting people to fill executive, managerial roles.

In our insecure world, we might consider tapping our own imaginative resources.  Can we imagine what would happen if we saw a recently discarded parish devotion as a blessing in disguise instead of something to be regretted or deplored?  What if it allowed God to break into our lives in a different way or brought us into a more mature relationship with the Holy One?  What if we regarded an apparently stubborn, uncooperative person as one who is unable, emotionally, to cope with the usual reactions which greet her ideas and suggestions?  Is not giving someone the benefit of the doubt simply one creative use of the imagination?

Consider new or unusual things others have said about cherished familiar topics, or think of things which annoy or worry us.  Why not deal with these problems by saying, “What if . . . ” and change the ending to one completely different from what it had up to now? Thinking “out of the box” and choosing several endings, even though absurd, could spark the clue to an answer with possibilities.  What if, for example, someone thought of a powerful alternate option to the building of nuclear bombs?  It is not unrealistic to say that our future survival will depend on the creative way we use our imaginations.  What if . . . ?  Let’s pretend!

–Mary E. Penrose, OSB

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